Lawyer turned film and theatre director, Bolanle Austen-Peters, has been selected for a prestigious fellowship programme of the Legatum Centre for Development and Entrepreneurship of the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, USA.
Mrs Austen-Peters who is also the Founder & CEO of educational and recreational organisation, Terra Kulture, will join 11 other fellows for the Legatum Foundry Fellowship, which is a transformative experience for accomplished entrepreneurs.
She is one of the four women selected for this highly-competititive fellowship, a hybrid training that will take Fellows across select African cities for study tours and coursework in Boston.
In its announcement on Thursday, the Legatum Centre said “the 2022-2023 Foundry Fellows are here. Join us as we welcome our incoming cohorts. From Egypt to South Africa to Botswana and Nigeria, our incoming fellows are working on enterprises to improve their communities in various sectors,” adding that they will “highlight each #foundryfellow over the next week as they get ready to begin an incredible year of networking, innovation and building community here at Legatum.”
The Foundry Fellowship is a transformative experience for accomplished entrepreneurs “who are at an inflection point between scalling an innovation-driven company and transitioning into a role as an entrepreneurial leader catalysing systems change and inclusive economic growth across the African continent.”
The statement from the Legatum Centre said that during the fellowship journey, Fellows will learn new frameworks in leadership development and acolytes building with expert faculty and practitioners, be exposed to ecosystems through visits with key stakeholders, and explore new ways to accelerate innovation-driven Entrepreneurship in Africa.”
In her response, Austen-Peters said: “I’m honoured to be selected as a fellow of the Legatum Centre for Development & Entrepreneurship at MIT. The recognition comes through over 20 years of creating pathways to global prosperity through innovation and entrepreneurship.
“It demonstrates that you should just keep at what you do without allowing distractions. It affirms that inspite of all, hardworking and diligence are recompensed. It encourages one to want to do more.”
Austen-Peters, 53, graduated with a BA in Law from the University of Lagos and earned a Masters from the London School of Economics.
After working as a lawyer in the 1990s, first in her father’s chambers, Afe Babalola & Co and later at the United Nations High Commissions for Refugees in Switzerland, she founded Terra Kulture.
According to her, since 2003, Terra Kulture has been at the forefront of promoting Nigeria’s art and culture through exhibitions, indigenous restaurant and storytelling through its award-winning plays and movies.
“Over these years, we have developed an in-depth understanding of arts, culture and languages to impact the next generation most effectively,” she added.
In recent times, the organisation, through the Terra Academy for the Arts, received funding support from both Mastercard Foundation’s Africa Works Initiative and Netflix.
Through Bolanle Austen-Peters (BAP) Productions, she has produced stage musicals like Saro, Waka, Fela & The Kalakuta Queens and Death and the King’s Horseman, among others.
She has also directed feature films such as The Bling Lagosians, Man Of God, Collision Course and Funmilayo: The lioness of Lisabi.